Last week, Pastor Bob and I went to lunch at one of our favorite spots: Blimpie’s. There isn’t one real close to where we are so we don’t get there very often, but we really like going there when we can. While I’ve had lots of great experiences there, this time they were a little… off.
Even though it was just past lunch, the place was empty. We meandered over to the counter to decide what we wanted. We stood there for at least four minutes before anyone acknowledged we were there, and then they just yelled from the back that they’d be with us in a minute. We waited for probably another two or three minutes before they finally came and took our order. We found a table – not a big challenge to find an open one, but finding a clean one was another story. The food was fine, but as we sat and ate there was a lot of commotion and noise from behind the counter. It was obvious that they were short handed and off their game that day.
So, am I never going back to Blimpie’s? No, I love their subs too much! I tell you this not to complain about Blimpie’s, but because there’s a great lesson here. If it had been my first time at Blimpie’s, I wouldn’t be back. From my experience, they seemed sloppy and unprepared. Because I’m familiar with how they operate and the quality of their product, I was willing to overlook the messy dining room and the sloppy service.
When you consider a first-time guest attending your church, they need to have a great experience – not what I had at Blimpie’s. We must remove distractions that are going to get in the way of a guest having the experience we want them to have.
A couple things to remember:
- Cleanliness is important. Take a look around your facility and make sure everything is in it’s place. Even though we meet at a theater and have to pack up and haul stuff every week, we still make sure all the totes and boxes are out of sight. I never want a guest to see a stray box or anything that looks out of place. It really does matter.
- Notice people. We stood there for several minutes before anyone even acknowledged our presence. I could see that they were in the middle of something and was willing to wait, but waiting is easier when you’re sure they know you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or how important it is, there is ALWAYS time to acknowledge a guest – even if it’s just to let them know that it will be a second before you can help them.
A great experience is what we’re all after, but it’s not an elusive goal. I hope no one coming to Journey has the experience that I had at Blimpie’s, but I’m sure the next time I head to Blimpie’s they’ll be back on their game.